Books

Ahmad Shah Massoud was Afghanistan’s best hope

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Ahmed Shah Massoud was described as ‘the Afghan who won the Cold War’. While famous in France (he was educated…

America sees red: how fury prompted the slide into Trumpism

11 September 2021 9:00 am

After leaving college more than two decades ago, Evan Osnos landed a job on the Exponent Telegram, one of two…

Lost to addiction: Loved and Missed, by Susie Boyt, reviewed

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Ruth, the narrator of Susie Boyt’s seventh novel, is both the child of a single mother and a single mother…

Barça’s golden age and its ruling triumvirate

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Even against our better judgment we tend to imbue our sporting heroes with characteristics they may not possess. This can…

A mighty river with many names: adventures on the Amur

11 September 2021 9:00 am

The Amur is the eighth or tenth longest river in the world, depending on whom you believe. The veteran travel…

The view from the Paris bus — an appreciation of everyday life

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Many would say the commute was one thing they didn’t miss in lockdown. But when Lauren Elkin was ‘yanked out…

A race against time: A Calling for Charlie Barnes, by Joshua Ferris, reviewed

11 September 2021 9:00 am

What is life if not a quest to find one’s calling while massaging the narrative along the way? This question…

Most people who call themselves Caucasian know nothing about the Caucasus

11 September 2021 9:00 am

A magnificent new history of the Caucasus earns Peter Frankopan’s highest praise

A story of women and weaving – a new retelling of the Greek myths

4 September 2021 9:00 am

What are myths for? Do they lend meaning and value to this quintessence of dust? Like religion, perhaps they help…

The elusive adventures of Catherine Dior

4 September 2021 9:00 am

When Catherine Dior, one of the heroic French Resistance workers captured by the Nazis, came face to face with her…

A dutiful exercise carried out in a rush

4 September 2021 9:00 am

The final volume of Peter Ackroyd’s History of England feels like a dutiful exercise carried out in a hurry, says Philip Hensher

The year of living decisively: The Turning Point, by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, reviewed

4 September 2021 9:00 am

We tend to think of turning points as single moments of change — Saul on the road to Damascus or…

The boys who never grow up: Sad Little Men, by Richard Beard, reviewed

4 September 2021 9:00 am

I can’t recall reading an angrier book than this. Richard Beard has written what I hope for his sake is…

Darkness, desolation and disarray in Germany

4 September 2021 9:00 am

In Geoffrey Household’s adrenalin-quickening 1939 thriller Rogue Male, a lone English adventurer takes a potshot at Hitler and then runs…

No stone left unturned: The World of Bob Dylan reviewed

4 September 2021 9:00 am

In May 2019, the first World of Bob Dylan conference was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Why Tulsa? Because Dylan’s archives…

The watery life of the capital

4 September 2021 9:00 am

To write about London and its rivers is to enter a crowded literary field. Many aspects of watery life in…

A very British coup: SBS – Silent Warriors reviewed

4 September 2021 9:00 am

The vast majority of the British public, and even military historians, have never heard of them. COPPists — a combination…

To the brownstone born: WASPS, by Michael Knox Beran, reviewed

4 September 2021 9:00 am

It was only in 1948 that the term WASP was coined — by a Florida folklorist, Stetson Kennedy. Yet White…

Jesus & the journo

28 August 2021 9:00 am

Greg Sheridan, the foreign editor of the Australian newspaper, is best known for his shrewd analysis of our country and…

Was Josiah Wedgwood really a radical?

28 August 2021 9:00 am

No wonder Josiah Wedgwood, the 18th-century master potter, was a darling of the Victorians. From W.E. Gladstone to Samuel Smiles…

Hubris, blunders and lies characterised the war in Afghanistan from the start

28 August 2021 9:00 am

There was certainly no shortage of excellent advice about war in Afghanistan offered to many American leaders by many people over many years, says Justin Marozzi

A narrow escape in Britain’s most treacherous mountain range

28 August 2021 9:00 am

Twenty-five years ago, my cousin Jock, a Scottish priest, rang in shock. Two priest friends, David and Norman, had been…

Like burst balloons after a party: the last paintings of John Hoyland

28 August 2021 9:00 am

When the internationally acclaimed abstract painter John Hoyland died in 2011 at the age of 76, a large chunk of…

A glimpse of lost London – before the yuppie invasion

28 August 2021 9:00 am

In a 1923 book called Echo de Paris, the writer Laurence Houseman attempted to conjure up in a very slim,…

War between Heaven and Hell: The Absolute Book, by Elizabeth Knox, reviewed

28 August 2021 9:00 am

Ursula Le Guin once described speculative fiction as ‘a great heavy sack of stuff, a carrier bag full of wimps…